The coronavirus pandemic was no match for Patricia Bullock and Tom Coleman, who recently sealed their love and commitment with a wedding at the independent living community where they met. 

The couple, both widowed, moved into Garden Plaza at Greenbriar Cove in Collegedale, TN, separately a few years ago and became fast friends. After a few months of dating, Coleman proposed with a diamond watch, and Bullock said yes. The Garden Plaza staff and residents threw them a surprise engagement party — complete with cake and ice cream — with their family and friends. 

The couple planned an Easter Sunday wedding with family and friends, but COVID-19 ended that goal. The Garden Plaza staff stepped in, and the two were married on the main balcony of the community. A friend sat on a trash can to play the piano, a retired minister performed the ceremony and a local florist made the bride’s bouquet.

Family and friends watched from below in the parking lot while the couple — donning protective face masks — took their vows. 

“To see them form this friendship into a marriage has been amazing to watch,” said Sierra Cannon, interim executive director of the community. “Pat would come into my office and tell me sweet things about Tom, and Tom would do the same about Pat. It’s just so sweet to see them so happy. We were so excited to have a big wedding here, but we will have a big celebration once all this passes.”

Click here to see the In Focus archive and read how to submit your photos for consideration.